Greenpeace finds high arsenic water content in red sludge-hit W Hungary villages

Vienna, November 26 (MTI) – Tests by Greenpeace over the past four weeks have still shown excessive arsenic content in wells and in a slurry reservoir in the area hit last month by a toxic spill in western Hungary, the organisation said in a statement released in Vienna on Friday.

The level of arsenic pollution measured in samples taken from wells in Kolontar and Devecser, the two villages hit hardest by the disaster, is four times the permissible level, the statement said. Tests revealed the highest arsenium content, 4,200 micrograms per litre, instead of the acceptable limit of 10 micrograms, in a sample taken in Devecser.

    A high level of arsenium, 2,300 micrograms per litre, was measured in the new reservoir built to channel off slurry at the alumna plant, which has been set up since production restarted after the disaster, the statement said.

    Greenpeace said that tap water in the region is free of arsenium pollution and no hazardous chemicals have been measured in ground waters, either.

    Greenpeace at the same time urges authorities to carry out additional water-quality testing.

    The toxic sludge escaped from the reservoir of the alumina factory of Ajka on October 4, leaving ten people dead and over 150 injured. It polluted smaller rivers and wiped out all life in the Marcal, but stopped short of causing environmental havoc on the Danube, Europe’s second largest waterway.